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John Dennis looks to challenge Nancy Pelosi with a more fiscally conservative, anti-war agenda

by Susannah Kopecky, published

Could a Republican soon claim the seat long held by Speaker Nancy Pelosi? If John Dennis has his druthers, such a thing will happen in the November 2010 election.

Dennis, who paints himself as a “pro-liberty Republican,” is gunning for the very same seat which Pelosi has continuously held for over 20 years. Dennis is working hard to unseat the polarizing Pelosi, and it is fascinating that a Republican has been gaining as much steam as Dennis has, in a notoriously liberal region.

Dennis comes to the arena with at least one distinct advantage.  He does not bring an exceptional amount of national political baggage. Pelosi has received widespread criticism for her role in advocating government-run healthcare.  She has also been noted for her highly partisan criticism of the Tea Party Movement (remember Astoturf and the inevitable Nazi comparisons?) and her finger-wagging at the CIA.

Dennis, the longtime businessman and Republican candidate is no stranger to politics, standing as a founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus of San Francisco. He explains on his campaign site that the choice to run came rather dramatically: “The deciding factor for me came down to this: When things get dark, which they will if we don’t change our present course, I know that I will regret not having spoken out on this stage when I had the chance.”

Dennis has expressed concern for the direction of the country, noting that his background in economics informed his understanding that “our current political behavior cannot be sustained much longer. The country needs to elect people who will stop the suicidal policies that pose an existential threat to the American experiment in liberty… The time has passed to pretend that ‘some else will do it.’”

He has expressed support for a “strong national defense”, calling national defense “one of the essential functions of the Federal government.” Dennis supports border security, a well-trained and well-cared for army, and believes that American troops should not “be forced to be policemen of the world.”

Dennis has been supported in his bid by such recognizable individuals and organizations as Barry Goldwater Jr., the Republican Liberty Caucus, and the San Francisco Young Republicans. While it may seem like a Republican running for office in San Francisco could make for comedy, Dennis may have picked the right dog for this fight.

What could potentially propel Dennis  to an upset victory is his alignment with the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC). The RLC feels that at every level, government is “too big, too intrusive, and too expensive.” The organization further supports the promotion of “individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise” all within the broader confines of the Republican Party.

The RLC has officially endorsed a handful of 2010 California candidates, including Linda “Ellie” Black for the 27th District (encompassing notoriously liberal areas such as Santa Cruz) and Gary Clift for the 10th District (encompassing such regions as Stockton and Sacramento).

The RLC is a nearly-20-year-old organization which counts Texas representative Ron Paul as one of its best known members. Dennis himself supported Paul’s failed 2008 bid for the presidency.

A strong alignment with the Libertarian-esque movement may make this race a very interesting one to watch.  On many issues, the RLC looks more to the right than moderate Republicans.  It seeks to curb the strong power of the federal government, allow for more personal freedom, and cut down on taxes.

In contrast, many liberal voters tend to prefer more leeway for government and do not express a distaste for taxes as vocally as more conservative speakers tend to. However, Ron Paul was also a darling of the left for his anti-war stance back in 2007-2008, so depending on the angle which Dennis plays himself, he may be able achieve the seemingly impossible, by securing otherwise typically liberal votes, in his effort to oust Pelosi.

If he does upset Pelosi, Dennis can expect to quickly rise within the ranks of the Republican Party.

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